Safety Tips for Sea Turtle Season
Sea turtles are a precious part of the ecosystem around Fort Myers. From May to October, you can be a positive part of their story by remembering these guidelines.
Observe From Afar
In the depth of night, a single turtle, weighing up to 400 pounds, emerges from the Gulf. Seeing no threats – or people – she burrows deep into the sand, leaving behind a hundred eggs. These fragile nests are often found by volunteers, who will place fencing around the area. If you see a nest, keep your distance and don’t disturb the sand.
Sea turtles spend most of their life at sea. Always discard your fishing line and nets properly. On the beach, don’t leave anything behind at night. Fold up all your furniture and take it home and be sure to flatten sand castles and fill in any holes. The mother turtle will need a clear path to and from the ocean. When the time is right, so will her babies.
After two months incubating, the small hatchlings make a heroic nighttime dash to the sea. It’s tempting to go in for a closer look but leave plenty of space. A baby turtle instinctively goes toward the light of the moon. A flashlight or camera flash will cause confusion. Even homes near the beach are required to cover or turn off any beach-facing lights.
By some estimates, just 1 in 1,000 will survive adulthood. Organizations like Turtle Time, the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) make it possible to protect and explore this part of nature with guidelines and guided walks. Learn more about wildlife in Fort Myers.